Prebend Centre emergency appeal gets £2k support from Bedford Rotary Club

Dick Wilkinson of Bedford Rotary Club

SMART Prebend Centre’s Covid-19 emergency appeal has been given a £2,000 boost by a donation from Bedford Rotary Club.

Brian Hanling, President of Bedford Rotary Club said, “Helping homeless people in Bedford has always been one of the club’s top priorities, and to this end, we have been pleased to help SMART in the past.

“We are delighted to help again with their emergency appeal in these extraordinary times.”

Chairman of the Bedford Rotary Club’s Community Vocational and Environment Committee, Dick Wilkinson said, “Although the clubs meetings currently take place virtually, we are still able to help charities and others and remain very active.

“We hope our donation of £2000 will enable SMART to continue with their vital work for Bedford people who are homeless.”

Ordinarily, the SMART Prebend Centre is open daily as a safe place for the homeless and socially isolated of Bedford to eat, shower and access advice and support.

In response to Covid-19 government guidelines, the centre is currently shut. Instead, SMART is working closely with partners and Bedford Borough Council, to provide a 24 hour a day service, 7 days a week from a temporary hotel-base in Bedford.

“It has cost approximately £10,000 per month to run the hotel-based service in Bedford supporting homeless and rough sleepers; the major cost being staffing and volunteer co-ordination,” said Anita McCallum, SMART CJS cheif executive.

“Every month of operation has seen an increase in those needing support and advice – and while people are in the hotel, we help them access support for substance misuse, as well as benefits and housing advice.

“Despite the enormous challenges of working with the Covid-19 pandemic, I am pleased to say we have supported more than 120 people in the hotel and over 50 individuals into suitable accommodation.

“This remarkable achievement has been made possible by our incredible team of staff and volunteers, who have worked closely with Bedford Borough Council and partners.

“We are incredibly grateful to receive the £2,000 donation from Bedford Rotary Club and for their ongoing support and kindness. Without the aid of local groups and our supporters, we simply would not be able to continue helping those who need it most.”

The SMART Prebend Centre’s emergency appeal was launched in March to fund an anticipated shortfall in donations from groups who would normally meet and raise money for the service, before Covid-19 struck.

With the help of organisations like Bedford Rotary Club, the appeal has raised 69% of it’s £25,000 target, but the centre still desperately needs financial aid to keep going. You can donate here.

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